Temperatures are rising and the water is calling! It’s summer–time to get outside and enjoy the weather along with beaches, lakes, rivers, and pools. This is also the time when many dedicated sauna-goers abandon their infrared sessions for cooler activities. It seems reasonable, given that many of us use infrared heat for relaxation, and now that weather has warmed you can do the same away from home. But wait! Infrared saunas are IN for summer!
Better Heat Tolerance
Whether or not you believe climate change is a reality, it’s evident that our summer temperatures seem to be rising every year. You may be a warm-weather person, but even the most heat-tolerant among us will reach a point where temps are beyond comfortable. Escaping to air-conditioned indoors becomes inevitable. For some people the AC goes on the minute the weather turns humid, and for others, it’s the last resort when ice water, ceiling fans, and tank tops have failed to provide enough relief.
Enter the infrared sauna!
Each of us has a varying level of heat tolerance and depending on where you live that can vary. Once you use an infrared sauna on a regular basis, you’ll notice improved endurance in warm weather or heated situations. A 20-30 minute session offers the most robust benefits. Whether it means being able to sit in the sun longer or acclimating well to indoor climates above 75 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit, infrared sessions can aid you in the long run.
A recent U.S. study done in 2021 confirmed, “Repeated sauna use acclimates the body to heat and optimizes the body’s response to future exposures, likely due to a biological phenomenon known as hormesis.” Hormesis at its most basic is cells adapting to a stressor, which in this case is high heat.
If you’re an athlete or if you exercise often, you’ll experience results differently. Being able to endure heat at higher levels will help increase performance as your body will feel less fatigued and you’ll sustain energy levels longer. You’ll also recover faster.
One thing is essential when experiencing heat exposure, and that is proper hydration. Read on…
H-2-O For Hydration
Everyone, from doctors to nutritionists to fitness coaches, agrees that any sauna experience should include proper hydration. This means having fluids before and even during an infrared session. Since saunas are designed for high heat penetration, the first thing your body will do is sweat, which means a loss of fluids. It’s important that you’re properly hydrated and replace these fluids so you don’t get heat stroke and faint. It also helps aid your kidney function as it eliminates toxins.
Just like you would hydrate before or during a workout, you’ll want to prep before entering the sauna. Water is best, but sports drinks will work as well.
When choosing a sports drink, be sure it has a proper amount of potassium and sodium. Drinks with electrolytes are good because they help replenish mineral loss when you sweat while also helping you absorb fluids.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol drinks, as those can actually dehydrate you and will tax your liver and kidneys further. Stick to water and you’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed once your sauna session is complete.
When your sauna session is over and you’ve dried off, you should definitely reach for some water if you didn’t have any during your session. While you might not feel thirsty immediately, your body will definitely thank you.
So, you’ve built your heat tolerance, stayed hydrated and you’re feeling much more energetic? Great! Let’s talk about another way setting regular sauna visits can help during summer.
Boost Immunity Before Winter
As soon as the summer ends and the weather starts to cool off again, you’ll start to see flyers for flu shots and commercials for cough medicine. Winter seems to hail the onset of viruses as if it’s just part of the cycle of life. But it doesn’t have to be!
What infrared can help with, and science has confirmed, is building our immune defenses. But why wait until fall or winter to start enhancing your health? By taking time to use your sauna every week during summer, you can ensure a hardier immune system. Imagine sailing through winter with nary a sniffle. Wouldn’t that be great?
The way that infrared saunas can help is fairly simple. As your core temperature heats up, your cells, like when you have a fever, start to have an immune response. Of course, you also want to maintain a good diet and incorporate exercise into your lifestyle, but an infrared sauna is a great tool to jumpstart and maintain good health.
Take advantage of summer downtime and don’t let your sauna gather dust—get in and stay healthy. Remember, infrared saunas are in for summer.
Sauna Best Practices
Do drink water before, during, and even after a sauna session, since you’ll deplete fluids via sweat
Do try to spend an average of 20 minutes per session to get the most benefits from infrared heat penetration
Do rinse or towel off after a sauna session, since salts produced via sweat can clog pores
Do follow any medical guidelines if you have health conditions, before using the sauna
Do use the sauna after exercise or sports participation as a way to recover quicker and to relax muscles
Do enjoy the sauna as a way to build heat tolerance, especially during warmer weather months
Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine drinks before or during your sauna session as they’ll dehydrate you
Don’t eat an hour or two before a sauna session as food will require energy for digestion and your heart will already be working harder from the intense heat
Don’t start off with long sessions if you’re new to saunas, rather limit sessions to 5-10 minutes or lower the temperature in your sauna as you get started
Health Mate offers a variety of saunas, some that are portable and use a smaller footprint, others that can offer the comfort of cabin space. Make sauna sessions social by inviting a friend with a larger, two- or three-person model. There’s an affordable sauna for every lifestyle.